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Before you even begin thinking about how you can save fuel think about how much you are using to begin with. Measure your fuel consumption over a couple of weeks if not a month, not only will this give you a nice guideline comparison but also show you how much you are actually saving in reality not just “oh that’s 20 quid so far” guessing. Measure and log the miles you have driven how much you have filled money wise and how much you paid per litre every time you have filled up. Without this information you will not see what you are saving and soon revert back to blindly over filling and just tutting while passing a gentle comment to your passenger at the extra ten pence a litre you notice when arriving at the pernicious petrol station.

vehicle-safety-checklistOne of the biggest tips and often the most overlooked one is simply the weight of the vehicle. Far too many people wonder where their fuel is going while lugging around excess weight in their car. Simply clearing out the car and not over filling with fuel, yes fuel is weight too, this is a massive weight 10 litres of fuel can weigh over 7 kilos. Filling up the car will appear to give you less time between petrol stations, but it is well documented that the extra weight your engine is pulling around will affect your fuel consumption. Weight undoubtedly affects your fuel economy so remember to clear out the junk and if you must fill up the car never go past the “click”.

tyre-pressure-fuel-saving

A sure fire way to improve more than just fuel economy but safety, durability and ensure a trouble free M.O.T is believe it or not.... Tyre pressure... Yes tyre pressure contributes to poor fuel consumption. It increases the resistance while the car is in motion again forcing the engine to work harder. Incorrect tyre pressure can be very dangerous so be sure to check this regularly and stick to the manufacturers recommended tyre pressure. Over inflated tyres can expand with heat when driving and lead to the tyre being weakened and the possibility of a blow-out can become very real. While over inflated tyre pose a risk under-inflated tyres can also have their risks, damage can occur when cornering, with the tyre low it will have more movement and the tyre will come into contact with the inner rim damaging the tyre. Tyre pressure will not fail an M.O.T directly but the damage caused will, remember if the tyre pressure is too low a testing centre will not be able to carry out the tests needed.

Let’s stay with resistance for now, just like your tyres any other resistance will cause the engine to work harder as it fights against this. Instead of friction consider wind resistance this can range from travelling at speeds with windows open unnecessarily to travelling around with a roof box on. Over a brief amount of time you will see a considerable amount of extra fuel consumption. Simply removing the unused roof box and thinking about if you need the windows open can help towards saving up to 10% on your fuel consumption.

car-maintenance-saving-fuel-steel-seal Consider how you are driving. Driving at 50 mph instead of 70 mph will instantly give you a 10% reduction in fuel consumption. While just driving at the speed limits alone will make your fuel go further the vast majority of cars are most efficient between 45 mph to 50 mph, considering the speed limit within the U.K is 70 mph remember the harder your foot is on the pedal the more fuel will be used and in turn overall consumption will shoot up. Remember new cars do not need warming up in the mornings this is another fuel burner.

Block changing gears is a useful one to consider. If you have a manual car it is likely you are already getting better fuel consumption than an opposing automatic but you can of course get even better, changing from first to third and third to fifth. The main reason for this is to avoid creeping too high into the revs consuming more fuel, changing early and “block shifting” will keep the revs down reducing the engines work.

While reducing fuel consumption and gaining economy it is easy to overlook what you are actually putting in your car. While some fuel companies actively promote their higher octane fuels (strangely enough they cost more) this is just another waste of money, unless you are driving a vehicle that will genuinely benefit or needs a higher octane of fuel do not buy it. The average extra cost for the higher octane “performance” fuel can be up to 10 pence per litre potentially adding another pound per 10 litres of fuel adding extra cost and undoing any changes you are making to reduce your fuel consumption and expense. While considering the fuel type always keep up to date with your local fuel stations, prices can vary greatly so use the internet or word of mouth to stay informed remember a few pence per litre adds up. Try not to become locked to a certain company for point rewards or go-to places, the reward schemes often outweigh the extra pence per litres you are paying.

With fuel type and price keep in mind the “treatments” while some do benefit and clean systems they are few and far between, there are some products that have been shown to actually increase fuel consumption. If you do choose to use products offering fuel treatment or consumption performance products, do some research with unbiased opinions and reviews to enable you to buy without marketing techniques persuading you.

checking-oil-saving-fuelCar maintenance is a very strong issue when it comes to fuel consumption and economy. With certain aspects strongly effecting performance and fuel consumption it should be a priority to know what things to check, maintain and replace. The air filter protects your engine while introducing air to mix with the fuel. The filter prevents dirt, dust and even bugs entering with the air flow. With the air filter it is important to visually check for build ups, this will cause less air to be introduced and in-turn cause the engine to mix the fuel and air at a slightly richer ratio using more fuel. The air filter should be changed once a year with visual checks once or twice during that time.

With vehicle maintenance being an important factor of fuel consumption and performance keep a log of any vehicle servicing. Whether you carry out the service yourself or use a mechanic it is important to document what work was carried out, this can point you in the right direction if you begin to use more fuel than usual and also serves as a reminder for any work that needs to be carried out. Spark plugs should be changed when servicing along with regular oil changes, when carrying out and oil change always change the filter.

An expensive option but very worth the investment, especially if you have the vehicle for a few years is an engine remap, ECU reprogramming or also nicknamed chipping. There is a lot of association with this being just for “boy racers” but while you can get a remap done to improve performance it is just as warranted to improve fuel consumption.

Improvements in your fuel economy can easily be reached with simple changes to your daily driving methods, but in reality it will be your wallet where you see most of the benefits.

This is the first in a series of money saving tips. We will be producing a guide to maintaining and servicing your own vehicle which can save you hundreds of pounds a year.

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